The 21st session of annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) discussions concluded in Washington, D.C. this past week. There were some note worthy developments worth highlighting.
First of all, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Secretary Locke, Ambassador Kirk and their respective teams for continuing to press the Chinese government to live up to its obligations to provide adequate and effective protection for intellectual property. For far too long, China has been synonymous with piracy and counterfeiting—an intolerable situation for both Chinese creators and for China’s trading partners. The absence of clear rules to address the facilitation of piracy theft has allowed this problem to be extended to the Internet where large players like Baidu have been permitted to operate businesses based on providing illegal access to copyrighted works. The time to end this has long past gone.
This year’s JCCT produced an important commitment from China to finally address this problem. As reflected in the Fact Sheet issued by the Department of Commerce, the Chinese government has announced that "China’s judiciary will pursue the in-depth study of several issues including Internet Intermediary Liability. The United States and China have agreed to actively support this process in order to obtain the early completion of a Judicial Interpretation that will make clear that those who facilitate online infringement will be equally liable for such infringement."
We call upon the Chinese government to move with all due speed in developing this new Judicial Interpretation. Every day that businesses such as Baidu are permitted to operate commercial services based on providing illegal access to copyrighted works further imperils the potential for developing a meaningful legitimate online marketplace. This undermines both the Chinese and American creative communities, and erodes public confidence in China’s ability or willingness to operate under the rule of law.
Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, Recording Industry Association of America
There's no better time than the holidays to remember the importance of doing good for others. Fortunately there’s no shortage of extraordinary charities and organizations steadily seeking volunteers willing to lend a helping hand. It’s been the RIAA’s privilege throughout the years to help a variety of incredible groups —including The American Association of People with Disabilities, Feeding America, DC’s Bread for the City and others— raise awareness and funds.
The RIAA hosted one such event on Monday at its Washington DC headquarters for Musicians On Call (MOC), a phenomenal group that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, and plans to open a DC chapter this spring. The event featured a private performance by Platinum certified country crooner Mark Wills who shared stories about his experience playing for soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on behalf of MOC earlier that day. RIAA also presented MOC with donations from The Academy of Country Music and Verizon, plus awarded Wills with a special Gold & Platinum plaque for his work with the troops and MOC.
To learn more about Mark’s visit check out this week's Nashville Tennessean piece “Country singer Mark Wills plays for wounded soldiers, one at a time” and also Musicians On Call’s website here: musiciansoncall.org.
Liz Kennedy, Deputy Director, Communications, RIAA
Event Photos by Tom Williams
Mark Wills performs with Kevin Key and talks about his work on behalf of MOC
Leslie Morrison Faerstein Ed. D., LCSW, Executive Director, Musicians on Call
Michael Solomon, Founder of Musicians on Call, Co-Founder and Partner, Brick Wall Management
Mitch Glazier, EVP, Public Policy and Industry Relations, RIAA and Kate Harold, Director, Artist & Industry Relations, Gold & Platinum Awards Program, RIAA present Wills with his special G&P award
Mark Wills signs copies if his latest album "2nd Time Around" (Tenacity Records, 2009)
"2nd Time Around"
Colossal congrats to Taylor Swift whose third studio album, Speak Now, swiftly certified triple-Platinum this week for shipping three million copies since its October 25th release. All three of Taylor’s incredibly popular albums are RIAA certified multi-Platinum with Taylor Swift (2006) currently 4x multi-Platinum and Fearless (2008) currently 6x multi Platinum.
No stranger to Gold and Platinum recognition, the RIAA crowned Taylor the top certified artist of digital singles during the decade spanning 2000-2009. Earlier on the Big Machine Records’ musical icon earned her inaugural Gold digital download award for “Tim McGraw” in 2007. In 2009 she received her first two multi-Platinum single awards for “Our Song” and “Love Story,” the latter of which remains her best selling single ever – at 5x multi-Platinum – to commemorate more than five million paid downloads.
Liz Kennedy, Deputy Director, Communications, RIAA
You may have heard Google announce today (http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com) its plans to “make copyright work better online.”
We certainly have a deep interest in these issues. Our first blush take? These are encouraging and positive first steps towards a more sensible online experience for both users and the music community. Google deserves credit for proposing a constructive set of reforms and undertaking useful steps to better protect the rights of creators and encourage legal ways to enjoy music. While there is much more work to be done, this announcement is an important acknowledgement that everyone involved in the online ecosystem has a shared responsibility to constructively address the online piracy problem that is devastating the creative industries. Obviously, the details of implementation will be critical, and we look forward to working with Google on all the steps necessary to effectively combat infringement.
Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO, RIAA